The dust is still settling from the first two nationally televised debates between the no less than 20 hopeful candidates for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination next year, but it is already clear that the debates were a strategic catastrophe for the Democrats:
They set the way for Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to be the candidate next year rather than former Vice President Joe Biden, the only figure who has a hope of beating incumbent President Donald Trump next year. Polls still show him beating Trump, especially the crucial Midwestern swing states that decided the 2016 election.
The third debate on Tuesday, July 30 heightened the Democrats;’ dilemma. Polls conducted right after it showed Warren edging further ahead of Senator Bernie Sanders, though Sanders is a lifelong Independent who only formally joined the Democratic Party in March this year.
According to a poll conducted by the New York Post, the runaway most popular Democrat in the July 30 debate was not Warren but Marianne Williamson, a 67-year-old former cabaret singer and New Age psychotherapist who advocates reparations to be paid to African Americans for slavery which ended more than a century and a half ago.
What is happening is that the most obscure Democratic presidential candidates are being given equal time with the handful of serious ones and they are all tripping over each other.
In one of the first Democratic presidential debates on June 30, Senator Kamala Harris of California humiliated and savaged Biden. But her victory was a Pyrrhic one: She lost vastly more than she gained.
Labelling Biden as an old fogey and a racist makes him anathema to the young ultra-liberals and left wingers who dominate the activist wings of the Democratic Party. Thanks to Harris, he has already lost them.
Yet polls have consistently shown Biden far and away the most likely candidate to woo Middle America Heartland voters – especially moderate so-called Yellow Dog Democrats and Independents who loathe Trump. Heartland audiences have been reacting well to his speeches alleging how “outrageous” Trump allegedly is.
Biden, given time for more than sound bites, is a superb debater and simply eviscerated Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in the 2012 election debate between them. Four years earlier, he made the late John McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin look like a tongue-tied, blushing little girl.
The Democrats’ “Dream Team” for 2020 would therefore have been the experienced, elderly, reassuring but still dynamic Biden paired with the young, feisty progressive standard bearer Harris – a black woman from liberal California.
However, Harris herself has destroyed that possibility. Polls show that after her attack on Biden he retained his durability and popularity among mainstream Democratic registered voters. But now the young, energized future of the party – a generation that fading Progressive icon Bernie Sanders brought in during his 2016 campaign – have soured on Old Joe.
Nor did Harris rise in popularity as she expected. All she succeeded in doing was making a lasting enemy out of the one person who could have made her Vice President of the United States while torpedoing his chances.
The apparent beneficiary of Harris’s attack on Biden was the candidate President Trump most wants to run against next year – Senator Warren of Massachusetts.
Yet Warren is the worst of all worlds for the Democrats: She is incapable of turning out the massive African-American and Hispanic block votes that propelled Barack Obama to two landslide victories in 2008 and 2012. Nor can she appeal to white working class older men and rural communities the way Biden can. And she has a plodding boring popular style that makes her reminiscent of Britain’s at last thankfully departed Prime Minister Theresa May. She could prove strikingly vulnerable to Williamson who makes a living as a charismatic popular lecturer.
Also, unlike Harris she does not come from the most populous state in the nation, California, but a much smaller one: Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in 1988, Senator John Kerry in 2004 and former Governor Mitt Romney in 2012 all went down to humiliating margins of defeat.
I covered the presidential campaigns of all three men and was astonished at how ignorant and deaf they were about every region of the United States outside their own state. None of them had a clue: They all imagined they were doing well in until the results came in.
Warren carries all this baggage and much more. She won a prestige position at Harvard University by claiming – either falsely or with wild exaggeration – Native American ancestry, which not a single Native American nation has accepted. She therefore embodies the example of an elitist raised to unfair privilege because of her (probably bogus) racial background. This makes her electoral poison to white, working class, Heartland America. The US media elites of course love her.
Democrats usually choose to be stupid rather than to win. They have had only two re-elected presidents (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) in the past three quarters of a century since Franklin Roosevelt died in 1945. During the same period, Republicans have had four (Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush).
Biden who will turn 78 after the November 2020 election, is the only Democrat who carries national credibility. He is the last of a long line. And his party’s remaining national credibility will fall with him.
Meanwhile, watch the rise of Marianne Williamson and prepare to be entertained.